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Roadside Attraction by Gary Howell (Hawkeye) (writing as: Dr. Marvin Candle) - Short, Mystery - A young man finds that a woman he rescues from an automobile accident is hiding a terrible secret. 8 pages - pdf, format
I think we've finally stopped entering my short film "Country Road 12" in festivals (it was originally "Roadside Attraction" when entered in a one week challenge a couple of years ago).
The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
The good news is that this isn't terrible and I'm not going to complain too much about the writing.
The bad news is that it's just so obvious what's happening here story-wise. Other than Kip's (and the other guys from past years) death on the front porch, nothing is remotely engaging, surprising, or interesting.
It's nice that you tried to give Kip some life, but for me, it didn't work. You're never going to find a 25 year old actuary, as the training and tests required take many, many years. Highly unlikely he's making enough money at 25 to be driving a Range Rover. And finally, and probably most importantly, his dialogue is extremely wooden and phony.
The writing is "OK", but there are lots of awkward phrasings and your continual use of irritating asides does not help one little bit.
Biggest problem here is that there's nothing here that anyone will remember...or want to remember. It's just not good or bad enough to remember.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Had a hard time reading this in some places due to to some of the tpeface fading out here and there, but I got through it. It's also a minor nitpick, but changing the traditional font (12-14 pt courier) on the title page isn't going to help win any brownie points.
Pretty straightforward, with no interpretations or interest. Strictly 'by the numbers'. It's not bad, but it isn't memorable. Early repetition of rain isn't helping. The dialog between Kip and Hillary in the car is gut-wrenching. "You're hot" "Especially ones as attractive as you....would it be presumptuous of me to ask if youï¿½d be interested in dinner sometime" Kip's actions of just picking her out of the rain and offering to drive her to the clinic and/or her home would be suffice. Giving him an ulterior, creepy motive makes me less caring. Note she appears injured and is in the rain., Now her would be hero right from the start of meeting her for the first time hits on her.
It didn't go quite where I expected it to go, and that's always a good thing. I was expecting a line about "she even started to give me a handj-" He looks at Carl. The next few words fade away. (I highly recommend adding that line, incidentally.)
Nice work. I could really see this making a solid horror short film when all is said and done.
BTW: I initially had the same gut reaction Darren did, regarding making Kip a bad guy who gets his comeuppance. But I can see this going either way. Having a good samaritan/average joe fall into Hillary's trap works for me, too....
And true - there's not much in the way of a "different spin" - but I think the annual death bit counts for something!
Second read of the OWC. My thoughts - all completely subjective:
A rather restrictive urban legend choice. Not a lot of possibilities with this one, I don't think. Considering how well known this one is, it might play at a disadvantage on that level too.
I think the final two pages were a cracking scene, maybe even more so if you knew the urban legend beforehand. The dialing of numbers, sirens, Carl's dialogue, it all held it together and gripped me to the seat. A great bomb under the table situation along with extra mystery from all sides. The expository and clearly built for maximum effect on story dialogue had a strong cinematic effect.
I originally didn't like the dialogue at all, but after being pulled into a second read due to a certain signature it clicked more and I felt like my observations on it along with the story one were a miss.
The writing was easy to follow. The script in overall felt average and kind of forgettable to me, maybe because of the choice of the urban legend, but it's a fine effort for the OWC.
Anyways, ahh, just felt like rectifying my poor and pretty harsh review on the dialogue earlier. Sorry. I don't think I delved into the script much on yesterday's read.
I also think the story beats are fine, I had a bit in about them too that I feel differently to after the re-read. It progresses and works fine. I think the script could still be more cohesive if the instigator for the flirting was Hillary, not leaving out Kip's attraction to her of course or if picking up her just because she was attractive was Kip's main flaw that lead to the events.
"Who knows what other injuries you might have sustained in an accident like that?" Yes, who knows? Definitely not me, I have no clue what other injuries she might have sustained in an accident such as this. I am also a robot like Kip.
This is like the fourth one I've read that's pretty much exactly this but with minor changes. It's a shame too, since I knew folks would go this route and it would turn into a cluster fuck of similar entries. The exposition load at the end doesn't work, the story is basic and that's the feeling you get from the writer as well -- basic. I can't find a definite voice here, which might have escalated this above the average norm. Definitely not terrible but a decent effort.
I have read dozens of versions of this story over the years, in script form and in short story anthologies.
The ending worked quite well here but the exposition just before that to get there was pretty basic. There needs to be something substantially different in the body of the script to make it stand out. What that is I couldn't tell you.
Some of the dialogue reads awkwardly and Kip seems way too forward. Border line sex pest. But the ending is nice and creepy. The only thing is, him dying is the only thing that feels fresh here. It's all been seen before from the vanishing hitch hiker.
this is a classic tale. Might be better if you found a way to make it more original. The death at the end worked for me, although I did not like the exposition. The old guy would be better if he merely came over and started counting down since he's seen this before, or if he tried to intervene before the girl leaves. He's less than helpful the way he is. If he comes over and does the countdown, it would show that he tried different things in the past. If he comes over with a defrib machine, it would be really odd and eerie. In any case, a bit too much dialogue and perhaps a bit too much playf from a girl running away from a would-be rapist.
P1 Shouldn't he use the honk first? Or scream at her to go and leave the lane. Maybe give us a new attempt of running into the evil (as here, I've seen this too often and it's a bit like fleeing upstairs than leaving the house)
"He feels like the luckiest guy..."
Never use the word "feel" I guess. Their actions should reveal what they feel and who they are. Take some time to find the right description.
It reads overwritten. There's a lot to cut imo.
The story's fine imo. I first had it in mind that she's already dead. There was a hint in the dialogue
"KIP (CONT’D) Holy shit! Is anyone else in there?
WOMAN No - just me."
There. And you did that well, because the whole car-chat distracted me from it again and the old man was an interesting character to reveal the plot finally.
You still let them speak too much though for my taste. I'd also suggest mostly staying away from proper names like house numbers, addresses or what they are working specifically etc. It's not essential. Always bothers me - logic-wise it's kind of like mentioning a character who never takes part or has any true influence.
This is solidly written, except for a few clunkers in the dialogue. But, as has been mentioned many times already, it's an old chestnut of an urban legend that everyone's heard. As soon as we see the beautiful girl by the side of the road, we know the score. So, those four pages of dialogue between them are merely padding until they arrive at her house. Most versions I've heard don't actually show the crashed car, because that detracts from the twist at the end.
I think there were some opportunities to defy our expectations here. What if the guy is driving on this desolate road, picks up the beautiful girl, and then it turns out the guy is the ghost. Something like that. Draw us in, then slap us with a twist we never saw coming.